Whitney Houston and the Politics of Posthumous Pricing
Posted on Feb 13, 2012
Early on Sunday morning, somewhere around 4 a.m. Pacific Standard Time, the going price of “The Ultimate Collection,” a greatest-hits compilation by the newly departed musical icon Whitney Houston, jumped 60 percent on the U.K. version of Apple’s iTunes store. By Sunday night, the price had dropped, but by then The Guardian had also taken note. Whether the change represented a that’s-showbiz bid to cash in on the singer’s sudden death Saturday or a logistically motivated price adjustment was unclear at press time.
Houston’s The Ultimate Collection, originally released in 1997, was the second top-selling album on iTunes on Monday morning. Apple returned the album to its original price late on Sunday.
Music fans described the move as a cynical attempt to capitalise on Houston’s in-demand greatest hits records. The price hike came as tributes flooded in for the singer, whose catalogue includes hits such as I Wanna Dance With Somebody and I Will Always Love You. Houston was found dead in her Los Angeles hotel room on Saturday afternoon, local time, at the age of 48.
Flickr/Asterio Tecson (CC-BY-SA)
Whitney Houston performs on “Good Morning America” in September 2009.